World Building: An Intro to World Building (Part 1)

Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to be a part of this, feel free to check out the Be a Guest Blogger page.

This week’s guest post is brought to you by Nthato, which is the first part of his four-part World Building series. Thanks, Nthato!

Intro to world building

Greetings all,

The name is Nthato Morakabi from A-Scribe to Describe, a blogger and aspiring writer like the lovely Rachel Poli, who has given me this opportunity to Guest Write on her rapidly growing blog. I hope you visit often as we all continue to grow in our love and passion for writing.

What is World Building?

This is a question I had to face when I took part in my first ever NaNoWriMo novel and again last year as I sought to tackle a South African historical fantasy fiction, based off my own people; the Batswana people.

The idea of world building is to create the very realm where your story takes place. In fact, every story ever written involves world building as this expresses the environment, the economics, religions, cultures and other aspects that define the people and their ways. All of this, in turn, affects both your story and the characters within it.

These are a couple of factors to consider when delving into World building;

  • Is it Existing ?
  • This is the world we are currently living in, and what we know and see in it. Although the story is fictitious, the landscape, money, clothing, history, etc. follows our existing world.
  • Is it an Alternate version?
  • This is a world or universe very much like our own but different in many ways. Perhaps here people have superpowers or are all born left handed or with three eyes instead of two – and these are the norm. How does that affect their economy, environment, government, religions, etc.
  • This can include Historic, Futuristic, Dystopian, Utopian etc fiction and anything that is different to how history, the present or the future was/will be. How does this affect the realm they live in?
  • This could also be an existing universe such as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, The Marvel or DC Universe, etc.
  • Is it a new Creation?
  • This is the creation of a completely different world, race, people, flora and fauna – planet. This does not exist at all and will need you to define its laws, cultures, traditions, races, history. Everything.

Taking these first steps in understanding the world where your story takes place, helps to bring depth and quality to your story. That is the purpose of world building.

What worlds do you find yourself visiting often? Have you thought about the details of the world?

South African born writer working as a freelance writer for Gamecca Magazine, hobbyist blogger and writer of short stories. An avid reader and aspiring digital artist hoping to finish a couple of novels from previous NaNoWriMo years, including a Steam Punk novel, a political thriller, and a South African Historic Fantasy.

If you would like to know more about Nthato, visit him on his social media:

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25 thoughts on “World Building: An Intro to World Building (Part 1)

  1. I’m curious what an example of ‘New Creation’ would be. Mostly because Middle Earth got put into ‘Alternate Version’. Would a new one be something like Pern or Narnia? I write fantasy and my world isn’t a version of Earth, but it does have the medieval feel and many of the standard fantasy races. So I’m curious as to where the line between ‘New Creation’ and ‘Alternate Version’ is.

  2. I have a work in progress (currently in hiatus), an epic fantasy that is a new creation. Race, culture, food, history, etc. I’ve created them all. And had to create a glossary of terms and names for all of it, as already mentioned in the blog post like plants and flowers, animals, currency used by each countries, to keep consistency. I think this type of world building is by far the hardest. Because at least with the others you’re working from a base. Off something that already exists.

  3. Just FYI… The link is broken. But it shows on your home page.

    On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 7:39 AM, Rachel Poli wrote:

    > Rachel posted: “Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday > and Thursday. If you would like to be a part of this, feel free to check > out the Be a Guest Blogger page. This week’s guest post is brought to you > by Nthato, which is the first part of his four-p” >

  4. I found this post by linking back from the fourth part of the series. It’s great!

    To answer a question by Charles about why Middle Earth falls under Alternate Version; I think if you base your novel in a world that has already been created by another author, it is an alternate world. To use Middle Earth as the example, when Tolkien created it, it was his new creation. If anyone else chooses to use it as a setting now, it’s an alternate world, because they’re borrowing from his idea. The same would go for Pern, Narnia, or any world created by someone who isn’t you.

    I hope that helps!

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